Brits back calls to extend sugar tax
Most Brits are in favour of extending the sugar tax.
Data collected by the Oral Health Foundation as part of National Smile Month, shows that 61% of Brits support an expansion of the current sugar tax or Soft Drinks Industry Levy as it is known.
Milkshakes, fruit juices, smoothies and alcoholic mixers, which are exempt under the current sugar tax, all received equal backing as possible routes for an extension.
A previous report looking into some of the drinks exempt from the sugar tax found that half contain a child’s entire recommended daily sugar intake, which is almost 19g or nearly five teaspoons.
Dr Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, believes the Soft Drinks Industry Levy has had a positive impact on the nation’s health and supports calls to extend the sugar tax further.
Dr Carter says: 'The sugar tax has been a significant success, not only for oral health, but for general health and wellbeing too. The more sugar we can continue to cut from drinks, the healthier our population will be. It will allow more of us to be free of the diseases and conditions linked to sugar, and it will also save the NHS millions every year.
'The lack of progress by government to build on the current sugar tax proposals has been extremely disappointing. A blind eye has been turned to addressing pure fruit juices, smoothies and milkshakes. These drinks are crammed with sugar and highly dangerous to a person’s health.
'Expanding the sugar tax to include milkshakes, smoothies and fruit juices is a relatively small step but the impact it could have would be enormous.'
The sugar tax was introduced two years ago and applies to drinks with more than 8g of added sugar per 100ml.
The tax forced manufacturers to lower their sugar content or face a tax rate equivalent to 24p per litre. As a result, many of them did. So much so that the new levy brought £800m less than it was forecast to.
Since then, the sugar content of drinks sold has fallen by 21.6%, equating to more than 30,000 tonnes of sugar a year.
During National Smile Month, the Oral Health Foundation is challenging Brits to cut added sugar intake.
The charity says swapping sugary foods and drinks for healthier alternatives is one of the easiest and most satisfying ways you can achieve better oral health.
For advice about swapping your sugars, visit the National Smile Month website at www.smilemonth.org
Author: Julie Bissett